Conscious and Unconscious Biases in Health Care

4. Addressing Bias

ProvidersThus far, the literature reviewed in this course universally concludes that as human beings we all have biases—some of which are conscious or explicit and others that are unconscious or implicit.

This literature also tells us that because conscious and unconscious biases follow different neurological pathways and affect different parts of the brain, efforts to address and mitigate these biases will require different types of interventions.

This course offers an array of interventions that health professionals committed to addressing their own biases can try out and hopefully adopt. The suggested approaches focus on both conscious and unconscious biases. However, a greater emphasis has been placed on those interventions that address implicit bias, because it is virtually impossible to act on feelings, attitudes, and behaviors that are outside of one’s conscious awareness until they are brought into awareness.